Thursday, May 10, 2007

"Phobias and Fetishes"

First of all, here's the poster/info for the show(s). Don't let the spider or the foot scare you -- just CLICK ON PHOTO to read!

Wow, what a wild week it's been.

My collaborators and I went to Palm Springs to stay at Myrna's timeshare -- but she could only get into on Sunday. So we got there Saturday night, stayed in a hotel with our desktop PC, electronic keyboard and midi set-up, printer, one lap top, one roll-up piano, two beds and a lot of snacks. Then after what we jokingly call "sleeping together and snoring together" (of course the snoring was just ME), we checked out, had lunch, then finally got to the beautiful timeshare (that IMHO had way too many kids at it).

We set up all our gear again, as Myrna says: "At least we get to look outside AT the pool." At one point I felt like I was in college again: we were all in the same room, but working on all our separate chores. Kellen was on the couch on his laptop with the lyrics, Myrna was on the PC fixing the book, and I was sitting at the coffee table with a pair of headsets on and the roll-up piano trying to use a miserable motif all the composers had to use. (Gb-Ab-Bb-E-Db-G -- yikes!) But it was cool to work like that... at any time we could ask our collaborator a question and not call a meeting or a email or dial them up. Just holler. :)

[In any case, I highly recommend going off somewhere with your collaborators early in the process. No distractions, and there's nothing like a shared obsession to bond writing partners together like this! Although we all get away from each other if we needed it (especially Kellen had to get away from us yakkety girls), it was a great experience. I will almost demand it next time I start up another musical (ooh, did I just say that?!?)...]

Then we had to leave at 1:00 pm, no matter what, for the two-hour drive back to LA. Kellen drove, Myrna and he yakked, I snored some more. Then we hauled all that stuff back upstairs, Kell left because he had to work in the a.m. Myrna and I worked more until about 5:00 when we both napped, and then I drove her downtown to work at 7:00 am.

And we still had to get our 12 copies of the script/music in by 10:30 pm that night! Yikes! Our goal was to have a full, complete script with all the music (no lyrics standing alone), even if the songs themselves weren't completely realized (accompaniment done) but at least there would be a melody. So we reached that goal. But it nearly killed us -- all 94 pages worth -- and nearly gave Kellen a heart attack. Poor guy! And he had to film us (as he did the whole weekend) for the darn documentary -- I dropped Myrna off and he shot video of her running into the ANMT door at 10:21 pm. UGH. If we didn't get it in, we would have lost this whole next rehearsal period and had to wait for our final draft assessment... that would have been terrible.

I know we're going to be long for Saturday's assessment -- unfortunate too, because Kell and I weren't able to read the book before we got published. Drat. Oh well, next assessment. And then I made some dumb mistakes in not changing some dialogue and lyrics in the score... oh, the formatting tedious is so sometimes, I just want scream.

Oh wait, I did that -- scream. A lot. And swore a lot too and got pretty dang testy (at myself). Hopefully you won't see my bleeped-out ass all over that docu, but who knows...


In any case, last night we went to the first rehearsal we (the writers) were allowed to go to... and some songs were a joy to hear being sung. My favorite new one is "See the Light" that's still not finished (we'll be hear a lot of melody being plunked out on Saturday)...

Today I was feeling a bit melancholy as I knew it was time to let our "baby" go live in the actors. Which is great -- as I've said before, I'm tired of hearing myself hum this stuff. It so strange, we were sitting there, and I THINK they knew we were the "Naked Truth" writers... but we were barely acknowledged as such by them. That was really weird! I'm not used to that... when I'm in production, I want to say hello to everyone and know who the hell everyone is there and what they do and thank them for it. But it wasn't the case last night and it felt awkward not to be even the slightest noticed.

I can't say I didn't try though... except for one actress who slipped away before I could say hello, I did connect with all them for a moment. But I don't know if they know that I'm the composer and Myrna's the book writer. Because one girl asked me all the book questions, and Myrna was pointing out a few "key signature" mistakes to the music director... hey, two Filipino women yakking about different things, who's to know which "M" does music and which "M" does book.

In any case, I'll keep smiling and saying hello. Maybe at the end they'll notice that our work for them was good. I hope so.

BTW, I forgot how much energy it takes to be in production... and I find it's just as crazy when I'm on this side of it -- the writing side. I sleep and dream this 15-minute musical -- music/dialogue/lyrics run through me all day and night... and it's exhausting. And even though we've not reached our peak yet (we still have one more final draft) or gone into final rehearsals -- I'm already sad about it all ending. This collaboration process has been one of the biggest learning processes of my life... and I can't believe this particular one, with my main man, Kellen, and our "Keys Emata"... I can't believe it's gonna be over soon.


I will say it's been great yakking with my friends about coming to the show(s). I'm so proud of our little work, and so many folks are coming to see it. I'm not used to the idea yet that they're going to spend $25 a ticket to see anything I did... but I'm sure I'll get used to it! Jeff Marx is a big draw (the co-creator of the Tony award-winning "Avenue Q" -- he's a very funny and humble guy!) -- and although most of my friends and family don't know him or the show (yet!), they certainly know what a "Tony award-winner" is!

And then there's this documentary. Oh boy. It's following the young lyricist, Kellen -- and since I'm on his team, me and my Big Self (are in it a lot). Unfortunately, Little/Slim Self has not been seen for awhile, so I'm just going to have to eat it on this particular show (excuse the analogy!)....
In any case, if you're planning to come, do buy your tickets quickly as it always sells out and next week all kinds of PR is going out.

Oh, just got a bit of the nerves again!...